Weathering the storm in Rock County - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Weathering the storm in Rock County


Janesville (WKOW) -- In Rock County, the winter storm started to have its biggest impact on driving conditions right as the morning commute was picking up.

Around 3:30 a.m. it started raining in Janesville, followed by freezing rain. By 4 a.m. it was all snow from there on out. Still, county highway crews were able to stay on top of it for a while.

"Well about all we can do is keep going around and around and pushing back the snow and keep it off the roadways and keep it so it can't eventually creep out onto the pavements," explained Benjamin Coopman, Rock County public works director.

Throughout the overnight hours, only about a dozen runoffs had been reported for all of Rock County.

However, by 7 a.m. the roads were getting sloppy, just as people were starting to head to work. Within a couple of hours, the County had recieved reports of another couple dozen accidents.

Along I-90, semi-trailers seemed to be having the roughest go. One jack-knifed just a couple of miles north of Janesville, reducing northbond traffic to one lane. In Beloit, two semis got stuck in Beloit, causing a detour for southbond traffic in the late morning.

Emergency officials say they have been taking steps to avoid another catastrophy like the 12 hour backup on the interstate last year, which stranded over two thousand cars.

"We're really not approaching it a lot differently in terms of what we're doing out ther, but we're trying to do it a little more before the events happen. A little sooner and try not to let things get away from us and we're also doing a better job communicating with all the other agencies involved," said Coopman.

Sergeant Amanda Hornung, Rock County Sheriffs Department, added "The nice thing now is they do have the traffic cameras installed on the interstate so, in addition to having cars out ther patrolling, we can also get onto the internet and take a look there to see if there's anything going on out there."

The highway department says keeping the roads clear is a matter of endurance, and it is up to the task.

"The trucks will be out there for sure throughout the day until at least six, maybe eight p.m. Just keeping up with the blowing and the drifting. We'll hopefully go off, get some sleep and then be back first thing in the morning tomorrow," said Coopman.

In the meantime, officials were advising people to stay off the roads if they can.

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